Good morning. Here’s what you need to know.
- Asian markets started the new year up sharply, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gaining 2.4%. Europe is mostly positive while U.S. futures point to a surge higher — Dow futures are showing a 200 point gain at open.
- German unemployment fell greater than expected to 6.8%. The number of jobless citizens dropped 22,000 to 2.89 million as the construction and auto industries held up surprisingly well. Economists were looking for the headline figure to decline by 10,000.
- U.K. manufacturing slowed less then economists predicted, as factory output measured by Markit Economics and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply increased to 49.6. A reading below 50 indicates contraction. Markit noted that producers recorded their worst performance since 2009. These 10 dates are crucial for the future of Europe >
- India’s finance ministry will allow direct foreign investment in the nation’s publicly traded companies. The announcement, which also gives funds and pensions greater movement in India’s capital markets, goes into effect on January 15.
- The Iranian Riyal fell to a new record low against the U.S. dollar on Monday, following President Obama’s push for greater sanctions on the country. The currency declined to about 16,800 riyals to the dollar, a 10% slump from last Thursday. Click here to see 10 huge geopolitical risks that could make or break markets in 2012 >
- Oil giant Total signed a $2.3 billion deal with Chesapeake Energy to gain access to the company’s Utica Shale rights in Ohio. The announcement will give Total 25% ownership of a joint venture to drill for shale. Here is everything you need to know about the shale gas revolution >
- BP has filed suit against Halliburton in U.S. court for $42 billion to cover all expenses of the Deepwater Horizon accident and ensuing oil spill. BP has already paid more than $14 billion to clean up the waters and compensate impacted Americans.
- U.S. manufacturing data will be announced today at 10 a.m. Economists polled by Bloomberg are calling for the ISM index to increase to 53.4 for December, up from 52.7. A reading above 50 indicates expansion. Follow the announcement live on Money Game >
- Caterpillar and Rio Tinto have started the new year by locking out unionized employees in Canada. Caterpillar shuttered 450 workers at its locomotive plant in Ontario, while Rio locked out an 800 employee smelter in Quebec.
- Today marks the last day of the primary race in Iowa, as the state caucuses tonight. Recent polls put Ron Paul and Mitt Romney in a neck-and-neck contest. Follow live coverage on Business Insider here >